POTOSI — The Central boys basketball team suffered its third straight setback after leading at halftime, and finished runner-up Saturday at the Potosi Tournament.
Sullivan completed four conventional 3-point plays in the third quarter by gashing the Central defense on dribble penetration, and captured the title with a 73-67 victory.
Justin Biermann scored 16 points exclusively after halftime, and gathered 13 rebounds as five separate Eagles reached double figures.
Central (7-4) piled up nine team fouls in the third quarter before Sullivan (9-1) was assessed its second, and the Eagles went 28-of-38 from the line overall.
Sophomore guard Jake Bridges paced the Rebels with 17 points, connecting three times from beyond the arc. Alaric Jones tallied 12 points and Brayden Manion had nine.
Biermann made a basket and ensuing free throw although contact appeared to occur well before the shot, and Heath Schatz scored on a baseline cut to give the Eagles a 65-54 lead with 3:30 to play.
Jones sparked an 11-2 response with his own 3-point play, and Bridges drilled triples from opposite wings to bring Central within 67-65 inside the final minute.
But the Rebels missed their final six attempts from the perimeter. Logan Hoffman and Schatz each made two free throws to seal the outcome.
The belated tournament final was postponed by snow in early December, and Sullivan benefited by having a healthy Biermann in the lineup.
Biermann made a behind-the-back save along the sideline to Schatz for a transition layup, then attacked the rim and drew contact to help Sullivan race ahead 48-37.
Manion rallied Central with his second 3-pointer and fired a skip pass to D.J. Buckhanan for a short jumper to send a 51-46 game into the fourth.
But the Rebels struggled to keep the Eagles off the boards as Biermann became a force in the lane, and could not pull even again.
Schatz poured in 15 points while Chris Erxleben netted 11 for Sullivan. Hoffman matched Michael McDermott with 10 each.
The Eagles broke pressure to generate an early 12-0 run, and maintained an 18-11 margin through the conclusion of the first quarter.
Jones converted a 3-point play for Central on a second chance, and Will Scherffius added two straight field goals after Bridges buried a tying jumper.
A putback by Hunter Courtois capped a 17-4 response covering nearly five minutes, and the Rebels were ahead 30-28 at the break.
Sullivan 18 12 21 22 – 73
Central 11 21 14 21 – 67
Sullivan – Justin Biermann 16, Heath Schatz 15, Chris Erxleben 11, Logan Hoffman 10, Michael McDermott 10, Ryan Juergens 6, Brent Davis 3, Caleb Pryor 2. 3-point FG – Schatz. (FT: 28-38)
Central – Jake Bridges 17, Alaric Jones 12, Brayden Manion 9, D.J. Buckhanan 7, Will Scherffius 6, Scott Richardson 4, Hunter Courtois 4, Austin Caldwell 4, Hunter Strange 2, Conner Proffer 2. 3-point FG – Bridges 3, Manion 2. (FT: 10-20)